Owen Mortimer

London Piano Festival appoints IP as media partner

9:30, 13th July 2016

The London Piano Festival has formed a media partnership with International Piano magazine for its inaugural event at London’s Kings Place this autumn.

The new Festival will explore a wide range of piano music across diverse styles, from solo works to duos and works for multiple pianos. The Festival’s founders and artistic directors, Charles Owen and Katya Apekisheva, widely admired as piano duo partners as well as as soloists, have curated a weekend programme of eight concerts with works ranging from Bach, Busoni and Rachmaninov to Messiaen and Piazzolla.

Among the inaugural Festival’s highlights will be an opening lecture by Alfred Brendel on Liszt’s piano music, culminating in a performance of the composer’s mighty Sonata in B minor played by Dénes Várjon.

Describing the London Piano Festival’s aims, Owen said, ‘We are happy and fortunate to see so many wonderful pianists on board for our very first Festival weekend. Each artist is someone we know personally, an essential component of creating a unique event such as this. Pianists are destined by the very nature of the instrument to be solitary creatures, but we hope to change all that for one dazzling weekend in October!’

Owen will be giving a solo recital featuring three of Bach’s Partitas, launching his recording of the complete Partitas on CD. Apekisheva, meanwhile, will be presenting a programme of Impromptus by Chopin, Scriabin and Fauré.

Among the artists performing at the Festival alongside the two curators are Kathryn Stott, in a programme of 20th-century French music built around four works connected by the luminous key of F-sharp; Noriko Ogawa brings the joys of piano music to the younger generation in a series of three Sunday morning family concerts, including works by Schumann, Mozart, Elgar and Debussy that promise to enthral children and adults alike; Debussy will be the subject of Lucy Parham’s fourth ‘Composer Portrait’ in a programme which explores the Frenchman’s tangled emotional life and his intellectual world; and in the Festival’s concluding concert, Julian Joseph will present an evening of his own compositions linked with well-loved jazz standards.

At the heart of the new Festival, a group of leading pianists will present works from the late 19th- and 20th-century duo repertoire in a gala event that features Ronan O’Hora, Martin Roscoe, Kathryn Stott, Ashley Wass and Stephen Kovacevich (making his Kings Place debut). The programme also includes the world premiere of a two-piano work, Fast Patterns, by the American composer Nico Muhly, performed by Owen and Apekisheva

The media partnership between the London Piano Festival and IP was cemented following Owen and Apekisheva’s appearance in the Rhinegold LIVE series earlier this year, with a concert curated by IP editor Owen Mortimer. An enthralling evening of piano duo music culminated in a complete performance of Stravinsky’s own duo arrangement of The Rite of Spring which critic Robert Hugill commended for its ‘sheer brilliance’. Describing the significance of the partnership, Mortimer said: ‘We’re delighted to be supporting the launch of the London Piano Festival, which brings together a fabulous group of artists in the repertoire they love most. It promises to be an inspiring weekend that will hopefully become a regular fixture in the capital’s cultural calendar.’

The inaugural London Piano Festival takes place from 7 to 9 October 2016.


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